Posted on: Dec 03, 2015

This year the recognised Public Holidays over the Christmas and New Year period are as follows:

  • Friday 25th December 2015 – Christmas Day
  • Saturday 26th December – Boxing Day (observed on Monday 28th December)
  • Friday 1st January 2016 – New Year’s Day
  • Saturday 2nd January – the day after New Year’s Day (observed on Monday 4th January)
Public Holidays during Closedown

Entitlements to public holidays that fall during a closedown period are clarified in the Holidays Amendment Act 2010.

If a business has a closedown period that includes public holidays (as can occur over the Christmas and New Year period) then the employee is entitled to paid public holidays if they would otherwise be working days for them, as if the closedown was not in effect.

Just as if a public holiday falls during a period of annual holidays, the employee is entitled to a paid public holiday if it is otherwise a working day for them.

Don’t forget that if you’re going to closedown your business during the Christmas and New Year period, you need to provide at least 14 days notice of the closedown, in accordance with section 32 of the Holidays Act 2003.  It’s important to check your employment agreements however, as longer notice is often contractually required.

For more information on this topic check our blog for the “Closedown Periods over Christmas” article we have previously posted.

Payment for Public Holidays

If the employee works on a Public Holiday

Where an employee works on any part of a public holiday the employee will need to be paid time and a half for the actual hours worked.

PLUS – if the employee works on a public holiday and that day would be the employees normal day of work, then in addition to payment for the above at ‘time and a half’, the employee is entitled to an alternative holiday (which will be paid, when taken, at the employee’s relevant daily pay or average daily pay – whichever is greater).  Note that the employee is entitled to a whole alternative day’s holiday, regardless of how many hours they actually work on the public holiday.

If the employee does not work on a Public Holiday

Where the employee does not work on a public holiday and the employee was due to work that day (i.e. an ‘otherwise working day’) then the employee is entitled to be paid not less than the employee’s relevant daily pay or average daily pay for that day, but the employee is not entitled to an alternative holiday.

If the employee does not work on a public holiday and the employee was not due to work that day, (i.e. not an ‘otherwise working day’) then the employee is not entitled to any payment for that day and the employee is not entitled to an alternative holiday.

Relevant Daily Pay

To calculate the employee’s pay entitlements for public holidays, alternative holidays, bereavement leave and sick leave, relevant daily pay is used.

By law, the employer pays what the employee would have received had the employee worked on the day of the concerned, including payments for any overtime and any commission and productivity based pay.  Employer contributions to a Superannuation scheme are excluded.

If it’s not practicable or possible to determine relevant daily pay, or if the pay for the employee varies within the pay period, the employer must use the “average daily pay” calculation below.

Average Daily Pay

To calculate average daily pay, take the gross earnings for the previous 52 weeks divided by the number of days for which the employee was paid during that period.



Disclaimer

This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.